Archives for posts with tag: Griffintown

This March 15 marked the exhibition opening of Toronto-based Abbas Akhavan’s work Beacon at the Darling Foundry. There was also an open studio opportunity for the public to see work in progress by international artists in residence.

We were first struck by the enormity of the open space that Akhavan’s work was in. Over time, though, a great deal of this space was filled by a slowly inflating (and then deflating) hot air balloon.

In the video, you will also see a very short glimpse of the second main element in “Beacon”. This is a lion-like form, made out of mortar. The form was made in reference to an Iranian sculpture, the “Stone Lion” of Hamedan. Even if the viewer did not understand this, it made the impression of replicating a relic (even though it was, obviously, crafted for the exhibition.)

The balloon felt like respiration. It noted the expanse of the available room. It was quite striking, and everyone kept a respectful distance from it.

Overall the work gave an impression of temporality, air, place, erosion, and impermanence.

In the working studio area of the Darling Foundry we had the fortune to meet, chat with, and see the work of Dineo Bopape. She is in the midst of a six month international residency hosted by the Darling Foundry and the Canada Council for the Arts. She is from South Africa. Her work is video-based, and also includes installation, sculpture, and painting.

Bopape’s video work (what I spent the most time with, outside of almost drooling on some of her painted sketches of patterns using mostly orange paint) uses pattern, narrative, and a keen and sometimes quirky sort of observation. The piece about green grass and blue sky was both simple and mesmerizing, and reminded me of the one time I fainted. Everything was crisp, simplified, out of breath, and hyper-real. The patterns in the overlapping grasses were overwhelming.

Other of her works used theatrical elements such as dance, storytelling, and singing. Forms of life and the natural word made their appearances, too… ducks, humans, patterns of sparkly water, and what looked like tulips.

When her work delves into the use of natural patterns, objects, and animals it still seems to reference the human body. It is the human take on these other things that comes across in the video. The feeling that I had of fainting, as well as the empathy within her other videos, that is maturity and sureness being expressed. I am excited to see what Bopape will present upon her finishing the residency in June.

We will announce her exhibition in our newsletter, so there is no time like the present to sign up.

Akhavan’s Beacon runs until May 27. The Darling Foundry is located at 745 Ottawa, in that funky neighourhood between the Old Port and Griffintown.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

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a participant during Nuit Blanche in Griffintown trys out Snow Painting

This past weekend during the Montreal High Lights Festival, we participated in Nuit Blanche in the Griffintown Cultural Corridor. It was a great deal of fun to put our recent experiments in Herbal Snow Painting to the test.

Despite the cold, we had many keen public participants join us in creating some snow paintings!

the first image was a tree with robins on a hill

We began the day with a large canvas; on this we painted a tree and birds using alkanet and plantain, cabbage, nettles, blueberry, turmeric, coffee, beets, and hibiscus. We moved the activity along the expanse of our large snow-hill, stenciling some simple leaf-shapes in amongst the poles and pilons that poked up through the snow. This intervention would hopefully give people pause on their daily walks.

The Community Participation area was a lot of fun to fill with boldly painted graphic designs.

a participant paints a snowy garden

There was a little shed at the end of this (regularly a parking lot) space, and it housed a fibre arts installation. The fibre artists in this shed were a little frustrated that people were not making their way to their exhibit, so we went about remedying that problem.

leaves amongst the poles

Patterned, stenciled leaves, boldly painted arrows, and beautiful colours glowing in the snow enticed people to enter this parking-lot space. They could see that it wasn’t just barren and empty; it was alive and vibrant with activity, colour, and interesting smells!

Tammy used a delicate touch to pour elderberries, then sprayed hibiscus... a dash of Love

We encouraged people to try out snow painting for themselves, and we had many takers. Some very beautiful temporary paintings were made that day, and we took great joy in documenting the activity.

an herbal graffitist...

We will be continuing with our Snow Paintings. We will paint around the city, and host some workshops on the subject in the very near future (before the snow melts!)

One concern we have with sharing the work in public, is that unsuspecting people might assume that the work was made with toxic spraypaints. To deal with this, in the future we will tag our creations with a stenciled “fleurbain” signature, and the words “herbal pigments”.

Hopefully over time people will recognise this means that the pigments we use are not only non-toxic and natural, but are even downright edible.

dribbled heart

Keep your eyes open, Montreal, for renegade Snow Paintings… and keep your eyes on our Workshops Page for upcoming events!

To see the full album of photos from this day, go to our facebook page.

spiral and leaves

universal herbalism

pilon button

the impermanence of plant pigments on snow contrast well with the bright lights of an electric city

tasting the paint... normally you can't do this with paint.

Natasha Henderson and Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

Pigments for sale on market stall, Goa, India.

imagine pigments combined with snow... layered in the cold

Exciting times are ahead; this February 26th from about 5pm to 9pm (thorough details will come later…) we (Tammy Schmidt, Clinical Herbal Therapist and Natasha Henderson, artist) will be participating in Nuit Blanche as part of the Montreal High-Lights Festival!

Our objective: to paint in an unusual way, using nature within the city. We will be painting using natural pigments; pigments that are not synthetic nor harmful for the earth. The body of the paint, as well as the canvas, will be snow and maybe ice. We will invite the public to add to our Snow-Painting, and to learn a little about the natural, herbal-based pigments that we will be using.

This project will be the second joint-venture of “fleurbain”; the first being the Herbal Creativity Spa Weekend: Valentine workshops planned for February 11-12. Needless to say, Tammy and Natasha are excited to be able to share their knowledge about herbalism and the arts, and add to the cultural life in Montreal!

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